We’re taking a look at the best wetsuits for surfing, which are essential for most of us to be able to surf year round. We don’t all live somewhere that never gets cold, and if you do, you have no idea how jealous I am!
The Different Types Of Wetsuit
The term wetsuit covers a few different variations – which makes sense seeing as wetsuits are kind of a go-to piece of gear for more or less all water sports.
Because with surfing you will be flat on your chest and getting up and down quite a bit, I would avoid getting one with a full zip in the front. It won’t be comfortable!
The pictures below are purely for illustration of the size and shape.
A neoprene vest, covering the torso, usually 2mm to 3mm thick. It is fine for summer, but doesn’t really offer much insulation on colder days (unsurprisingly). If you’ve got a good pair of guns though, you can show them off!
Similar to the vest, but actually with sleeves this time, so providing a bit more warmth and insulation. Usually made of 1mm or 2mm neoprene.
Short John Wetsuit
Basically covers the same area as if you were to wear a vest and shorts, it keeps your core warmer than the vest or jacket on their own ever could. If you are surfing somewhere where it goes from extreme cold to warm to cold in a single day, this will be a good choice. It keeps you warm, but is breathable enough for when it gets warmer as well.
Long John Wetsuit
Similar to the short john wetsuit but with full leg coverage, meaning of course, more warmth. The extra benefit of that is that it will protect your knees a bit when you’re popping up on a surfboard.
The springsuit provides a good core coverage, but leaves part of your arms and legs bare. In my own books it is the best wetsuit for surfing in because it still gives you some insulation but without making you feel as warm as a fuller suit might do.
The fullsuit is basically what the name says – it provides full coverage of arms, legs and torso, which in turn makes it the warmest possible suit you can get.
Because they are designed both for all-weather use and some are specifically designed as cold water wetsuits, thickness does vary. 2-3mm thickness is fine for general use and look at 5-6mm thickness for cold water.
So What Are The Best Surfing Wetsuits For Men?
I am going to stick to springsuits and fullsuits as I think they’re a little bit better than the others in terms of comfort, practicality, warmth and most importantly (*ahem*) appearance.
So let’s take a look at the best surfing wetsuits in my not so humble opinion.
As a male I can’t write from personal experience about the best women’s surfing wetsuits, but I have covered off a few in the next section for you anyway.
O’Neill Men’s Reactor 2mm Spring Suit
A great, flexible lightweight wetsuit, perfect for all-round usage.
It only weighs 1.5lb so doesn’t add much weight to your frame, is expertly made and doesn’t cause any pinching or discomfort.
Plus a back zipper so you don’t need to worry about any chaffing from the zip when you’re popping up.
It will definitely keep you warm and is probably the best bang for your buck spring suit on the market.
Hyperflex Wetsuits Men’s 2.5mm Access Spring Suit
I’m not completely sold on the aesthetics of this one – to me, the O’Neill just looks simpler and a bit better – but this one is a bit cheaper and designed specifically for surfers and specifically with beginners and newbies in mind.
So this is probably the best surfing wetsuit for beginners.
The fitting is a bit tighter if you’re bigger around your chest and shoulders, but for some of you that might just be a perfectly valid excuse to show off your muscles.
O’Neill Men’s Epic 5/4mm Wetsuit
Now we have a fullsuit making an appearance in our list of best mens surfing wetsuits.
It is designed for colder conditions, hence the 5/4mm thickness, compared to the standard 2 or 3mm. Plus it has an internal thermo chest panel for extra insulation.
It’s seamless design is comfortable and prevents chaffing – always helpful.
It has a large back zipper which makes it easy to get in and out of, but no zips on the arms or legs – which helps prevent water sneaking in.
All-round, probably the best mens cold water wetsuit for surfing available.
Hyperflex Wetsuits Men’s Cyclone2 2.5mm Spring Suit
Back to my preferred choice of spring suits.
The Hyperflex Cyclone2 is a great entry level spring suit, and is good value for money too.
It has a comfortable seamless design, but a couple of reviews I have read have said that the neck can rub a little bit.
But all in all, a good budget or beginners choice.
NeoSport Wetsuits Men’s Premium Neoprene 3mm John
Despite my own personal dislike for the look of both long johns and short johns, they appear to be popular so this list would be incomplete if I didn’t include at least one.
It is a sturdy, well constructed long john, and good for keeping the chills out on colder days. The arms, shoulders and neck are lined with lycra for a bit more comfort and the inside is seamless and completely smooth.
It’s comfortable, stands up to wear and tear and is another good value for money option.
If you’re after a surfing long john, this is the one for you!
So What Are The Best Womens’ Wetsuits For Surfing?
Like I said earlier, this is not an area I can provide personal experience from but I have done my research, spoken to people who actually do have personal experience and put together a list of recommendations based on their feedback.
O’Neill Women’s Reactor Spring Suit 2mm
The men’s version of the O’Neill reactor spring suit made it to the top of our list, and the women’s version is just as good.
Smooth on the inside, hidden key pocket, back zip, and comfortable to wear – it ticks all the right boxes and ranks up there as one of the best spring suits for women available.
O’Neill Women’s Reactor Full Suit 3/2mm
Just as good as the spring suit, the women’s reactor full suit is warm, smooth, comfortable and durable. Pretty much everything you want.
It is well crafted, provides a good fit and is good value for money.
A great full suit wetsuit for surfing for women.
Rip Curl Women’s Dawn Patrol 4/3 GB Wetsuit
Ok so I have to admit, the most popular reason this womens’ wetsuit made it onto the list is because of how it looks. It is more vibrant than the simpler ones that are predominantly black, but not over the top comic book superhero style bright colours.
On top of that though, it is comfortable, durable, keeps the cold out and is light enough to not affect your weight too much.
All in all, a good choice which is worth the price tag.